While some of the essentials remain the same through to toddlerhood, like diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, and a change pad, there are some other not-so-common items that you might find to be lifesavers as you walk about with your new little one.
Essentials for baby
While most public places, like shopping malls, have dedicated nursing rooms for nursing moms with newborns, you may still wish to do so discreetly. Keep a fashionable nursing cover in your diaper bag so you can comfortably stop to nurse anywhere and everywhere. The Udder Covers Grace Nursing Cover in grey and white looks just like a fashionable shawl. But it has a fully adjustable rigid neckline so you can still keep an eye on baby underneath, and move the d-rings for the best fit. Plus, you can throw it over your shoulder and use it as a burp cloth once baby’s done feeding.
If baby is formula-fed, or you use pumped breast milk, you’ll want to keep a bottle with you at all times. I was a fan of the Dr. Brown’s bottles, owning both plastic ones for on-the-go and glass ones for use at home. The Dr. Brown’s Specialty Feeding System Starter Set includes two 4 oz. and three 8 oz. bottles so you can always keep one ready in the diaper bag. It comes with travel discs to keep the bottles covered until you’re ready to throw on the nipple and feed. Since they are relatively spill-proof (let’s face it: no baby bottle is 100% spill-proof!) they’re a great choice for use on-the-go.
If you formula feed, a formula dispenser will come in incredibly handy, since you can pre-measure the required amounts for each feed to get baby nourished as quickly and efficiently as possible, and take along only what you need. The Vital Baby Nurture Milk Formula Dispenser comes in bright orange so it’s easy to locate in the depths of your bag. It has three compartments for three meals if you’ll be out for a full day, and includes an easy-pour spout for dispensing the powder into your bottle without any spills. A revolving lid lets you easily switch from one compartment to the next.
Additionally, a bib is a good idea if your baby is taking a bottle, or starting solids.
You could grab a package of disposable bibs, like the Baby Works Baby Bibs, which come in a package of 12, each including a crumb catcher should your bambino be at the stage where she’s munching on soft cookies and crackers.
If you prefer to go cloth, get something super cute for baby’s outings, like the Zoocchini Max the Monkey Baby Bib, which is made from 100% cotton, with comfortable padding for the neck that can also help catch spills.
Baby Entertainment & Comfort
Not every baby takes to the pacifier (mine did not.) But for those who do, all heck will break loose if they don’t have it. And inevitably, you will lose the soother at some point during your travels. So it’s always a good idea to keep a spare. The WubbaNub Elephant Pacifier is pretty tough to lose, with a cute and furry animal friend attached to the other end. Baby can suckle on the latex-free silicone tip to soothe herself while she explores her new animal friend.
A teether is critical for any baby who has already started teething, or could start at any minute. The Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Ridgees Giraffe Teether doubles as a cute toy while also providing relief from the painful process of teeth cutting through the gums. It employs a textured surface, with firm edges that help massage the gums. And it’s both freezer and dishwasher safe.
Kill two birds with one stone with something like the Green Sprouts Teether Keys, which doubles as a jingly toy when the baby doesn’t need oral relief. It comes in bright colours and fun shapes with a built-in rattle to keep baby entertained for hours. And it’s safe for baby to nibble on, thanks to the BPA- and PVC-free material.
Or, go for a dedicated toy that you can strap to the stroller or car seat handle when baby is getting fussy. When my son was a baby, he absolutely loved the Lamaze line of toys. The Squeezy Donkey features a number of colours, designs, and textures to keep baby thoroughly curious and distract him for the pain of teething, boredom, or sleepiness. Plus, once baby learns to squeeze the donkey’s tummy to make its ears pop up, your little one’s adorable giggling will begin.
When my son was a baby, I grabbed one of the Safety 1st 7-Piece Complete Health Care Kits to keep at home. But it’s worth storing some of the items in the diaper bag for emergency on-the-go use as well, like the nasal aspirator in the event of the sudden onset of a cold, and the travel-sized thermometer.
Extra clothing and other handy items
Finally, you’ll want to bring along an extra pair of clothes (even two!) if you have room. The easiest option is to throw in a onesie that won’t take up too much room, but will cover baby’s top and bottom should her outfit get dirty. For the warmer months, you can opt for something like the aden + anais Silver Star Bodysuit; then go with the aden + anais Night Sky Starburst Sleeper for the colder temperatures. Layers are key with a baby, so always keep a nice sweater or blanket on hand as well.
Complement the extra onesie with a cute hat like the Juddlies Fleck Newborn Cap and a pair of protective mittens, and you’ll be ready to go on the latest adventure.
I always liked to bring along a few extra swaddle/receiving blankets as well, so I could throw one over my shoulder for burp time after a feed. This could help spare your clothes from an unfortunate stain (and smell!), plus come in handy if baby needs extra warmth inside an air-conditioned venue.
Another handy addition is a wet/dry bag so you can keep dirty items, like spit-up clothes and dirty clothing, separate from the rest of your items. The Bumkins Owls Wet/Dry Bag is a cute and stylish option that you can slip into the diaper bag and use when needed, then wash when you get home. It has two compartments so you can use one for dirty clothes and the other for a dirty spoon or bottle nipple, for example. Plus, it’s fully waterproof. If there’s no room in your jam-packed bag, you can also hang it on the outside of the bag, which will make it easy to remember that you need to throw it, and the items inside, in the wash when you get home.
Essentials for mom
In most cases, the diaper bag also doubles as mom’s purse, hence the reason there are so many fashionable options. Which means you need to remember to throw in your own essentials as well.
This includes keys, smartphone, wallet or at least credit cards, ID, and a few bucks. If you haven’t shifted all of your loyalty and gift cards to digital yet, don’t forget them either. There was many a time when I shoved a couple $20 bills, my driver’s license, and credit card into the diaper bag for a quick walk to the mall only to realize that I left a loyalty card I needed at home.
Also, don’t forget items like lipstick or chapstick, essentials creams for post-nursing, and extra breast pads. Depending on the size of your diaper bag, it’s not a bad idea to throw in an extra T-shirt for yourself as well, just in case there’s an unfortunate spit-up situation that even a burp cloth couldn’t save you from.
Which diaper bag is best?
Because dad will likely be carting baby about just as much as mom, opt for a unisex diaper bag, as well as a fashionable one just for mom. The Jolly Jumper Stockhold Diaper Messenger Bag is versatile in that it can be carried over-the-shoulder, messenger-style, held by the top handle in one hand, or strapped to a stroller. Plus, both mom and dad will be comfortable carrying it around. It employs an understates black and white design, and has useful features like insulated bottle pockets, a front pocket for mom and dad’s belongings, and an interior lining that can be easily wiped clean.
|JJ Cole Backpack Diaper Bag||
Jolly Jumper Manhattan Diaper Bag